Recently like most videogame enthusiasts, through no fault of my own I might add, my backlog of videogames grew to a dangerously high level. To be honest I just couldnít help myself and if IĎm being honest IĎm glad the tides have risen so high. Your probably well aware of the situation, the allure of low prices and great deals uncovered was too much and as always has left your wallet uncomfortably light. Perhaps I didnít need that copy of Resident Evil 4 on the Wii for £5 as I already own the game on the PlayStation 2 but when it allows me to stroke one more game off that unfathomably long list of wanted titles, resistance become futile.
For some gamers the concept of a backlog is pointless. I on the other hand find it to be rather comforting. Perhaps itís due to the younger days of my youth, a time when I was hungry for games but unable to afford them. Now I can afford games and Iím able to set aside a budget with which I can spend on my collection. So why restrain myself when good deals arise? I may not have time currently to devote 40 hours to this RPG but one day I shall and regret not doing it sooner. I take the same satisfaction from shorter games too and above all else when I look at the shelf of unfinished or possibly even untouched games, one must keep them separate from the rest of the collection, I cannot help but feel comforted. Never again shall I be forced through multiple playthroughs of the same terrible game for lack of any other to play. Never again shall I sit down ready to immerse myself in a new world only to find that Iím well established in them all. Backlogs are not a thing to avoid, theyíre something which you owe yourself to create.
Do squirrels store away just enough nuts for winter? Do you have just enough clothes to see you through the week? Are our refrigerators and cupboards filled with just enough food to last until our next shop? Why then do we not purchase enough games to last well beyond our current title.
So while some of you may look upon me with shame and claim Iím throwing money away on games that I may not play for some great amount of time, I say no. I take pride in my backlog for if darkness falls once more and Iím unable to afford the luxury of games once more at least I know Iíve got enough candles to see me through until dawn.
Games like Reality Fighters will continue to be made as long as consumers continue to buy into gimmicks.
For those of you who are unaware of Reality Fighters, the PS Vita launch title, Iíll do my best to give you a quick run down of the game. If you havenít guessed already itís a fighting game and a generically average one at that. Buttons will be mashed and those once tricky combos and special moves are extremely easy to pull off, due to the developers attempt to create a casual fighting game. As a result each fight lacks any real sense of depth or challenge making the process one that is both dull and repetitive. And so to add a hint of flavour to the bland dish that is Reality Fighters, the game does what so many games do to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Throws in a gimmick here and there and calls itself unique.
But what are these wonderful novelties I hear you cry out? First, thereís the ability to take a photo of yourself, your friends or family and create unique characters within the game. You can then dress your virtual counterpart in a massive selection of clothing and equipment and I suppose there is some satisfaction to be taken from watching your virtual self do battle with your friends virtual counterparts; who all just so happen to have dressed in the most inappropriate of gear. Itís a cheap ploy but I canít help but smile when I see rugby player Tom dressed in a womanís outfit with plunger in hand awaiting the fight to begin.
Another of the gimmicks used to entice you into a purchase are that the fights can take place in the world around you. Simply point your handheld at where you want the action to take place and watch as the arena is set up and the fight unfolds. When it works its serviceable but unfortunately the camera often moves away from the action and the fighters leaving you to move the Vita after them. Itís frustrating to say the least as the whole process becomes downright chaotic.
Enough dwelling on poorly implemented features though, for now we must move on to what is perhaps the most devious of all the gimmicks contained within the game. The final boss is Mr Miyagi, licensed from the Karate Kid movies, who once defeated becomes a playable character.
Great games are hard to make. They take inspiration, a creative vision and a focus and dedication that results in the high quality of the end product. Gimmicks are easy. It doesnít take much to throw down a handful of ideas but developing these concepts and separating the bad ideas from the good takes a tremendous amount of hard work. Not every game has to be a blockbuster, an experiment of what a game actually is or a refined idea thatís taken years to perfect. What a game canít feel is uninspired however, lacking the passion and drive that should surround every game. Videogames can take a long time to make and if the initial drive to create them isnít present from the start thereís no possible way of it appearing along the way resulting in a handful of ideas being thrown down hoping that one is enough to justify a sale.
So I bought a Wii U. Now, instead of writing about my impressions and opinion of on the games or the system, youíve probably read enough of that already, I thought that Iíd
try and explain my policies and views on when to buy a new system.
First off, I have no allegiance to any particular company or brand. So whether its Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo or even Sega Iíll happily buy and play them all. If there are games out on any particular system that Iím interested in playing the chances are that at some point Iíll own both game and console. But when? Hereís where things start to get a little complex.
To start with I compile a list of all the games that IĎm interested in for any particular console. This not only helps me to keep track of the games that are out but also ensures that no games are forgotten as I wait for the price to fall to just the right price. Now, based off of this list, I assign the console a value at which I would happily buy it. Obviously this changes over time as more games come out, as holiday sales approach and as new consoles are released but the point is when it drops to that specific price or, if IĎm lucky, below that price I purchased the system without thinking.
Itís a strange strategy and mentality, Iím not denying that, but itís one that works for me and one that Iím happy with. Ok now for my thoughts on the Wii U. Yes, Iím aware I lied in the intro.
If the recent times have shown us anything itís that the casual crowd that rushed out to buy the innocent, family friendly Wii have not done so with its successor the Wii U. Perhaps itís the daunting nature of a controller with dual analog sticks and face buttons opposed to the simplicity of the Wii remote. For no longer is a swing in the air enough, no longer can the controls be explained in several short seconds, no longer can Grandma watch you play then mimic your actions for her own amusement. The days of ďHere why donít you try?Ē are gone Iím afraid for the intimidating nature of the controller has scared the casual fans away.
Mastery of the Wii U controller itself is no hard act. A quick run through of the games in Nintendo Land is enough to leave you feeling more than comfortable with the gamepad. The analogs, triggers, d-pad and face buttons are of the standard that we gamers are accustomed too and the touch screen is of an equally high standard. The trouble, however, is that most casual gamers arenít willing to attempt to use a controller such as the Wii U gamepad. The touch screen is familiar and may even entice them in but the thought of dual thumbsticks is enough to terrify them away. Herein lies the problem. It isnít the cost of the device, the lack of family friendly games or a change in market, itís that a casual audience will not use a controller that cannot be learnt through observation and a quick ďJust do this.Ē
Personally Iím a fan of the Wii U. Iím excited for what the screen on the controller will bring and donít care that itís the least powerful system of itís generation. The Wii U may not have had the instant sales of the Wii but the potential is there. Just look at the 3DS if you require evidence as no one could have predicted the u-turn that the system performed as it won of the hearts of those who had snubbed it at first glance. It may be struggling now but remember the console race isnít a sprint, itís a marathon and the only way to know who won is to look back once and reflect itís all over.
So will the Wii U will be a success? Only time has the answer.